Reema Khrais

Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.

A North Carolina native, Reema began her radio career with Carolina Connection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an anchor and reporter. She later interned at The Story, and traveled to Cairo, Egypt to produce stories from the 2011 revolution. Her work has also appeared on CNN, The Takeaway and On The Media.

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Politics & Government
8:40 am
Thu August 21, 2014

General Assembly Adjourns With Medicaid and Teacher Assistant Plans Unfinished

Credit Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / www.flickr.com/photos/statelibrarync/8634329145/

  After a prolonged legislative session marked by delayed talks and Republican infighting, the General Assembly has finished its work and adjourned for the year.

The short session dragged on as lawmakers struggled to compromise over key issues, including teacher pay and coal ash. Legislators managed to strike a last-minute deal on Wednesday that would work to remove coal ash from 33 ponds across the state.

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Education
6:52 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Judge To Rule On Legality Of Private School Voucher Program

Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

 After hearing lengthy arguments on Tuesday, Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood says he will make a ruling on the legality of the state's private school voucher program Thursday morning.

The program, also known as Opportunity Scholarships, uses taxpayer dollars to help low-income families send their children to private schools. The annual grants go up to $4,200 per student.

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Politics & Government
7:52 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Incentives Bill Spurs Debate Among Legislators

Credit Matthew Lenard

State lawmakers are at odds over intertwined bills that many argue are postponing the adjournment of the legislative session.

One of those measures -- House Bill 1224 -- is loaded with job-creation incentives aimed at luring businesses to the state. It would also cap local sales taxes. 

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Education
8:33 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Explaining NC's Teacher Pay Raises

Credit cybrarian77 / Creative Commons/Flickr

Governor Pat McCrory has signed a $21 billion dollar state budget that includes pay increases for teachers. He and other Republican leaders have been trying to send a loud and clear message that teachers will be getting a historic pay raise, the first major one in years.

They’ve been touting it as an average seven percent increase. But there’s been a lot of confusion over how that’ll actually pan out and whether all teachers will see a pay bump.

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Politics & Government
10:36 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Gov. McCrory Signs $21B State Budget Deal

Credit Reema Khrais

Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law the state’s $21.1 billion budget bill that was approved by the legislature last week.

The signing comes five weeks after the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1st, a deadline lawmakers did not meet because of stalled negotiations and debate largely over teacher pay and Medicaid funding. 

McCrory signed the 260-page budget deal on Thursday at the executive mansion, proudly noting that the spending plan includes raises for teachers and state employees, while not increasing taxes or making reductions in Medicaid eligibility.

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Politics & Government
5:54 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Gov. McCrory Calls On Feds To Help 'Unaccompanied Children'

Credit Governor's Office

  Governor Pat McCrory says state officials don't have enough information about what he calls unaccompanied children. He says at least 1,200 children have crossed the US border since January and are now placed with sponsors in the state.

State officials are publicly calling on the federal government to help address the issue. McCrory says they don't have details, including how old the children are, where they're staying or if they're safe.

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Politics & Government
8:21 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Wake Commissioners Reject Sales Tax Increase To Raise Teacher Pay

Credit Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

Wake commissioners voted Monday against a referendum that could have raised the county's sales tax by a quarter-cent to generate about $28 million to go toward public schools.

Some Wake Commissioners wanted to hold the vote because the General Assembly might limit their ability to raise sales taxes. Lawmakers want to cap the local sales tax rate to 2.5 percent. The measure would allow some of the large urban counties, including Wake, to bypass that requirement if they levy a quarter percent tax this November.

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Politics & Government
9:46 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Gov. McCrory: 'I Do Not Need To Veto This Budget, I'll Sign It'

Credit www.governor.state.nc.us

Governor Pat McCrory says he approves of the legislature's spending plan for state and will sign the bill.

The Senate already passed the $21 billion budget bill today and the House will likely approve it Saturday morning.

Governor Pat McCrory touted the budget proposal at a press conference on Friday.

“We've got a 2.2 percent increase in the general fund budget with no tax increase, with teacher pay raises, no elimination of teachers assistants and we've kept the integrity of our Medicaid, I'm proud of it,” he said.

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Politics & Government
8:31 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Senators Pass Budget, But Will Return For Coal Ash, Medicaid

Credit Dave DeWitt

After a 15-hour day at the legislature, Senators voted this morning to pass the $21.3 billion state spending plan. 

Senators didn't leave the legislative building until about 1 a.m. They were determined to make a final vote on the budget and wrap up any loose ends before heading home. 

But they'll be back soon enough. They're expected to return in a couple of weeks to take up any possible vetoes from the Governor. Then, they'll be back in November to pick up at least two bills they didn't finish. 

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Education
11:43 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Some Teachers Skeptical Of Pay Plan Under Budget Deal

Credit cybrarian77 / Creative Commons/Flickr

 As the state budget is finalized, some critics say they’re skeptical of how the teacher pay raises will pan out.

Under the budget deal, public school teachers will get an average seven percent raise. On the surface, many teachers say that sounds great, but some are worried about what it'll mean for more experienced teachers.

Currently, teachers with more than 10 years of experience receive lump-sum bonuses, which will be eliminated under the new salary plan.

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